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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore: Velen and the Light of the naaru

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

What must it be like, to be a Prophet? Well for starters, something like the events of Warlords of Draenor is likely far less confusing to comprehend. When you're used to staring at the myriad, intertwining paths of fate, a hiccup here or there along the path of destiny is likely an easy thing to identify. Unlike the bronze dragonflight, Velen has no way to go back and alter history or change the threads of fate. But what he does have may be more powerful -- the ability to see the threads of the future, where they lead, and to choose which will eventually lead to a future where the Light prevails.

And unlike the bronze dragonflight, Velen hasn't lost this power. It wasn't a gift or task from the Titans, it is simply what Velen has become. Velen doesn't lead his people in the conventional manner that we're used to. He doesn't declare wars, he doesn't pour over tactical plans, he doesn't order his people from one place to the next, one task to the next. He is the unique shepherd of the draenei race. Velen sees where the future will lead, and he gently guides his people back and forth between the threads of fate, tracing each line in the hopes of reaching that fateful day when the Legion, when all darkness is brought to an end.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor, including the spoiler cinematics. If you are avoiding spoilers for the next expansion, turn away now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Moviewatch: How to Make Easy Money in World of Warcraft

This might sound like the title to a gold-making scheme designed to dupe you out of your hard-earned wealth, but How to Make Easy Money in World of Warcraft is actually the latest project from Nixxiom Machinima. Featuring the guest vocal stylings of Crendor, Nixxom's latest work is a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek look into one of the oldest tropes in WoW. But hey, we all want gold, right? The question here isn't so much how to get it, as what you would do for it.

As always, the animation and models in the short are flawless as ever, and that last visual sequence of Stormwind is pretty amazing. I also like the use of the Gnomeregan theme worked into the mix -- it's a piece that doesn't get a whole lot of play in Warcraft, and I'm a fan of enthusiastic kazoo noises in general. The joke here might be a little old, but the larger moral of the story is still the same -- don't give your gold to strange night elves. You never know where they've been, who they really are, and whether they're going to buy something nice for themselves, or just something nice to bring about your inevitable incineration. If you liked the short, make sure you check out the YouTube channel for Nixxiom Machinima to see more.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Blizzard highlights Hearthstone crafts

Hearthstone's Community team has come out with a new feature that highlights arts and crafts among the Hearthstone community. There are those among the players that are enthusiastic about the online card game who are not only having fun playing the game, but are ridiculously talented, turning their creative energies to crafting all sorts of fun items after the game they love to play. This is the first of what I hope is many posts featuring the Hearthstone community's creative efforts -- and man, are these some incredible projects.

Two different recipes are highlighted in the video, a Hearthstone-themed roll cake, and some incredibly cute caramel-filled Hearthstone chocolates. What I love is that both recipes are actually tutorial videos, so those of you that want to try your hand at making these at home can do so. I've never actually made a roll cake before because they always seemed to be pretty complicated, but the video certainly has me wanting to try. Chocolates, on the other hand, are pretty easy to work with in comparison. If you're looking for creative holiday gift ideas for your gamer friends, you might want to check that video out.

Also highlighted in the post are three absolutely gorgeous crafted items. There's a Heartstone in a box, as well as the lovely candle-holder shown in the header image above. The third is a jaw-dropping reconstruction of the Hearthstone box featured when you begin the game. To check out all of the arts and crafts, head to the official site. If you've got any creative Hearthstone crafts of your own that you'd like to share, be sure to post on the official forums and show them off.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts, Hearthstone Insider

The Queue: Proper orc posture

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I like how every now and again you'll run into an orc with a suitably grim and fearsome scowl on his face to act as a counterpoint to the neatly braided beard. Do you think orcs braid their own beards? Who teaches them how to do it? Is this something you can ask your local goblin barber to take care of for you?

nist asked:

Why all orcs but Thrall are crookbacked?

Nist, the standard answer to this is that mostly it's in place to further differentiate Thrall's model from your run-of-the-mill orc NPC. I have my own theories about this however, and they've got nothing to do with game mechanics and everything to do with the lore surrounding the orcs, and Thrall in particular.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: If you were in charge

Let's face it -- our characters have done more over the course of WoW's 10 year history than any NPC in the game, pretty much. Maybe we didn't defeat all those villains single-handed, but we've stopped their evil plans several times over. We've deftly, unflinchingly addressed situations that were literally going to bring our world to an end, on multiple occasions, and yet we still find time in our busy world-saving schedules to help a farmer with a vermin problem or, you know, pick up some poop because apparently this is also just part of a day's work for a hero of Azeroth. No need to thank us, unless you're handing over gold or armor or some other slightly entertaining item, heck half the time we're just pleased to be getting some experience for it.

Yet when it comes down to it, despite all our heroics, we're the last people anyone would consider for a leadership role. When push comes to shove, the NPCs of Warcraft would rather promote a military leader with a thirst for violence. Or a council of three people who hate each other. Or that tall blue guy with the mohawk and the pointy ears who's just conveniently standing in the room over there. We're always the bridesmaid, never the bride -- although given what we're willing to do to get our hands on some loot, maybe that's for the best.

But what if you were in charge? What if, when push came to shove and everyone's backs were against the wall, everyone turned to you and said "OK, now what?" What would you do if you had absolute power? Would you immediately launch a war, regardless of whether or not other people really wanted to be in one? Would you start peace talks or diplomatic negotiations? Are you the type that would chuck a mana bomb at a city, or arrange a summit to hash out our differences? Who would you lock up? Who would you set free? Would World of Warcraft become World of Chaos under your careful guidance, or would you try to make a happily-ever-after for everyone? If you were in charge, what would you do?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

EU Connected Realm Updates for October 3

It's been a while, but the list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been recently updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. Please note that these updates are for EU realms only. There have been no updates for US Realm Connections. Today's update is just a small one, with only one set of connections scheduled for next week -- at the moment, there are no other planned connections listed as either in the works or scheduled.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, October 8.

English Realms
  • Eonar and Vek'nilash/Blade's Edge
  • Steamwheedle Cartel and Moonglade/The Sha'tar
German Realms
  • Das Konsortium and Die Arguswacht/Die Todeskrallen/Das Syndikat/Der Abyssische Rat/Kult der Verdammten

If you're on a low-population realm, but not on the above list, keep in mind that realm connections are an ongoing process, and you may see your realm added to the list over the next several weeks. Also keep in mind that planned connections may change at any time, but Blizzard will keep us updated on changes -- realms may be added or removed from the list at any point in time. For the full list of all EU realms that have been connected so far, check the official forum thread.

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

WoW Moviewatch: MoP in Reverse

Slightly Impressive is back with a new machinima featuring the heartwarming tale of an orc named Garrosh Hellscream who saves the world and makes a huge, long-lasting impression on Azeroth. Or rather, this is the story of Mists of Pandaria told in reverse. Oddly enough, it's a much more uplifting experience than the actual expansion, which kind of ended on a melancholy note, although everything was wrapped up, taken care of, and generally put in some semblance of order.

I'm not quite sure what I love best about this particular piece, because there were several stand out moments that made me laugh. As always, I'm a fan of his twisted view of Jaina Proudmoore, who makes another appearance here. But I think it's probably the unlikely singing that really got me, along with the slow realization that telling the story in reverse actually sounds more like a Thrall-style story than a Garrosh story. It's almost as if Thrall is Hellscream backwards. Who knew? If you liked this, don't forget to pop over and check out the rest of Slightly Impressive's work on his YouTube channel.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Warlords of Draenor: Official Draenor dungeon previews

If you've been wondering about the various new dungeons we'll be seeing in Warlords of Draenor, prepare to have your questions clarified. Earlier this week, Blizzard posted an official preview of all the dungeons introduced in the next expansion, including the revamp of Upper Blackrock Spire. The previews do a great job of giving an idea of what we'll be seeing in the dungeon without actually giving away any potential storyline spoilers -- just a brief overview of why the dungeons are there. There isn't even a boss list that tells you who you'll be seeing, which is nice for those wanting a little information without giving everything away.

More importantly, each dungeon includes a short piece of commentary by one of the many artists and designers involved in bringing it to life. Each bit of commentary goes over one particular feature or design element of the dungeon and how it was brought to life. We don't usually see the behind-the-scenes for the dungeons we run, and it's cool to see some of the crew involved in dungeon design being given the opportunity to talk about their work. And even if you've already been playing through the dungeons in the beta, there's still information here that you can't get just from running it in game.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: I feel like there's a joke in here somewhere

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Have I mentioned lately how very odd it is to see almost every NPC and vendor in game suddenly showing up with fresh faces and gorgeous new models? It's a little disconcerting. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, but it's really, really weird right now.

arwilkes9001 asked:

In the Beta, have we seen what happened any of the orc NPC's that we fought during siege around Orgrimmar? Overlord Runthak & Ol Auctioneer Thathung & others, did any of them survive? Also are there any NPC's or flavor text that mention the events of the siege?

Overlord Runthak has been replaced by a new, bluer, taller Overlord. A troll overlord. As for Auctioneer Thathung, I haven't seen him. I have, however, seen the orc above, who may or may not be a distant cousin.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: How are you planning to level in Warlords?

Everybody's got a different way to level through content the first time through. Some people take their time, others try to push through as quickly as possible, with the intent of setting a more leisurely pace for alts. Still others chain dungeons to gather XP, bypassing all actual questing in favor of simply running the same thing over and over. The last couple expansions for me have been a blur of fast-paced and frantic leveling in the first 48 hours or so of the expansion's launch, partially because I wanted to be at max level for my raid guild as quickly as possible, partially because I really, really wanted that realm first achievement for leveling. I came in a close second both times I tried.

Disappointing? Maybe a little. But I was kind of relieved to hear that realm first leveling achievements wouldn't be coming into play with Warlords, because that temptation to speed through the leveling experience is gone now. I'm no longer actively raiding, either, so there is absolutely no reason for me to bulldoze my way through leveling. I'm actually far more excited about the prospect of simply taking my own sweet time then I ever was about the marathon get-to-max-level-racing sessions, although my guild was usually on vent and our babble, particularly after the 24 hour mark when we were all just a little too sleep deprived for our own good, was highly entertaining.

But I'm looking forward to leveling for the sake of leveling, and just taking my time soaking in the story and what's going on in the world around me. Everyone's got their own way to level, and this time around, mine is going to be at my own pace while soaking up the story, which suits me just fine. What about you guys? Are you going to rush through Draenor's content, achievement or no? Do you like doing quests out in the open world and seeing what's out there, or do you prefer stacking up your XP in dungeons? How are you planning on leveling in Warlords -- is it going to be a race to the finish line, or a more leisurely stroll through content?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics